The trial with the SolaRoad cycle path near Krommenie has yielded valuable results. The energy generated is higher than initially expected, the road surface acts just like an ordinary road surface and requires no more than regular road management. Important lessons have been learned with regard to technology. Some of the damage occurring to the top layer of the cycle path, for example, has led to specific improvements in this area. The robustness and durability of the top layer will be further optimised in the development towards the application of SolaRoad on a large scale.
The province of Noord-Holland is going to test the SolaRoad pavement in a pilot with heavy traffic. The municipality of Haarlemmermeer and the province will jointly select a suitable location for the project. The new pilot is a follow-up of the successful pilot project on a bicycle path in Krommenie.
The aim of the pilot is to study the performance of the pavement under heavy traffic loading, and to learn about the impact of solar pavement on daily road management and maintenance. Moreover, the test will give information on how to maximize the energy production.
SolaRoad pavement has integrated solar cells, which harvest the incident sunlight and convert it to electricity. With SolaRoad, the road pavement works as a large solar panel. Through this multifunctional use of the existing road network, extra area is created for the generation of renewable energy, without adverse consequences for the landscape. Vice governor of Mobility, Elisabeth Post: “It is time for the next step. Valuable lessons were learnt from the pilot in Krommenie. We know the SolaRoad pavement can perform well on a bicycle path, now we will test the pavement under heavy traffic loading. If the pilot is successful, the potential for large scale application of solar pavements worldwide is enormous.’
The test location with heavy traffic in Haarlemmermeer will be set up as a ‘Living Lab’, integrating the SolaRoad pavement in the public road. The facility will be built in stages, to allow the testing of different materials. The Noord-Holland Provincial Executive decided to grant a funding of 2.700.000 euros to the pilot and its associated research and development.
Collaboration and further development
SolaRoad is a collaborative development of the province of Noord-Holland, TNO, and Strukton Civiel. Parallel to the pilot project, the parties are exploring the possibilities to further commercialize the SolaRoad initiative in a joint corporation.
Smart roads and energy transition
The green electricity from a SolaRoad road can be used for various purposes, such as public lighting, traffic management systems, households, and electric mobility. The innovation supports the sustainability goals of government and industry, in the framework of the Paris climate agreement. It contributes to carbon emission reduction and is an impulse for the development of smart roads and the energy transition.
SolaRoad is a road surface that you can not only drive on but that produces renewable energy too. A couple of years ago, this innovation from TNO, Province of Noord Holland, Strukton Civiel and Dynniq was merely a good idea but now the system is ready for the market – certainly since the SolaRoad Kit has made applications in infrastructure so quick and easy. A SolaRoad Kit in a bike path in France is already supplying electricity for the lighting at a roundabout.
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Haarlem, July 3, 2017
International interest in SolaRoad is growing. We are in advanced talks with the US State of California and its road authority while the SolaRoad Kit that is being applied in Groningen has attracted interest in France.
“Climate is big business”. The Dutch government and the State of California could not be more in agreement. This was evident during the climate mission at the end of May led by Secretary of State for Infrastructure and the Environment, Sharon Dijksma, in which SolaRoad featured. The Member of Parliament cited SolaRoad explicitly in her speech as an example of Dutch innovation that is helping to achieve climate targets.
The enthusiasm on the side of the authorities in the world’s sixth biggest economy remains substantial. In talks with environment minister Matt Rodriguez and the Caltrans road authority we discussed the progress of the intended pilot in Kern County north of Los Angeles where the idea is to equip a hundred-metre strip of road at a parking lot with our technology. SolaRoad fits in seamlessly with the ambition of Caltrans to generate solar energy from the road infrastructure. A foothold in California, a state that is a global leader when it comes to sustainability, represents a major step forward in getting SolaRoad into the market.
But it’s not confined to the US. A French party has also expressed interest and has ordered a number of samples of the SolaRoad Kit. This ready-made product comprises four elements of 2.5 x 3.5 metres and is suitable for cycle or walking paths, a square, a yard or a business park. The kit generates around 3,500 kWh annually, which is comparable to what a household consumes in a year. The electricity that is produced can be used for purposes like street lighting, traffic lights and charging points. Groningen was the first user: in mid June the Blauwestad district began using the ‘STOPcontact’ smart loader powered by the SolaRoad Kit road surface that enables cyclists or walkers to ‘top up’ their tablet, phone or bike.
To extend the lead our country has in solar road surfaces, the TKI Urban Energy project PV4Roads has begun. This project involves TNO, Strukton Civiel, Vlaq Groep, Heliox, Kameleon Solar, EV Consult and grid operator Alliander cooperating to develop the next generation of solar energy producing roads. It will deliver prototypes for highways that we will be testing in practice in 2018.
Optimising the design for the proven SolaRoad technology will increase the return, reduce costs and accelerate industrial-scale production. That will be essential if more road surface area is to be equipped with the technology. Our country has 120,000 kilometres of small roads under municipal and provincial management. That is twice the area of roofs we have. So compared with solar panels, the potential of solar roads is huge. Moreover, the SolaRoad road surface can be visually incorporated into the environment very well. With domestic and foreign authorities as launching customer, we are encouraging new business and making SolaRoad a commercial success. Good news for the environment and the economy
The SolaRoad team is working on many new plans and developments for 2017 and beyond. But today we look back on some special events in the year 2016:
– On the 29 of March 2016, the Californian highways agency, Caltrans and the province of North Holland, signed a declaration of intent to look at sustainable options for capturing solar energy in transportation infrastructure. The proposed location is in Lebec, Kern County.
– The SolaRoad bike path in Krommenie was extended by 20 meter. The added elements are improved versions of the elements that were installed in 2014. The extension is part of the three-year SolaRoad pilot project, and will generate new test results.
– SolaRoad won the Vivaio Award ‘the for best visionary project of the year in Europe’
– A nice video about SolaRoad by BBC Horizons was broadcasted on October 30, 2016
– David Wolfe, an online publicist, made a video about the 7 reasons why the Netherlands are a great country to live in. SolaRoad was mentioned as one of those reasons. The video reached millions of viewers.
– To meet the demand from home and abroad, the SolaRoad Kit was introduced: four elements SolaRoad with an area of 10m² and therefore easily procured and extended by governments and companies. The province of Groningen will be the first to apply a SolaRoad Kit. It will be connected to a ‘smart bench’ that enables charging smartphones and e-bikes. The SolaRoad Kit and bench will be placed in April 2017.
22 December 2016
SolaRoad congratulates Wattway with the opening of 1 km ‘route solaire’ in Normandy, France. We are pleased to see that what SolaRoad started in 2009, and launched as world’s first solar panel road in 2014, now has worldwide following. There is an emerging market for solar roads that is now being developed by more players.
19 December, 2016
SolaRoad as the Dutch solar bike path is known worldwide. In 2014 this innovation was launched as a pilot in Krommenie. Since then SolaRoad has been extensively tested and improved. To meet the demand from home and abroad, a SolaRoad Kit has been assembled: Four elements SolaRoad with an area of 10m² that are easily procured and extended by governments and companies. The province of Groningen is the first customer of this innovation and they will start using it in a multifunctional bench with charging points for electric bicycles, a mobile phone or a tablet. The name of this application is STOPcontact. Around April 2017, the province will place the bench in Blauwestad, a wetland nature and residential area east of the city of Groningen.
Recently Adam Shaw from the BBC Horizons payed a visit to the pilot stretch in Krommenie. They made this nice item about it:
SolaRoad on BBC Horizons video
Haarlem, 22 October 2016
SolaRoad extended by 20 meter
The SolaRoad bike path in Krommenie was extended by 20 meter. The added elements are improved versions of the elements that were installed in 2014. The extension is part of the three-year SolaRoad pilot project, and will generate new test results.